Did Sheriff Dupnik drop the ball?
The police were sent to the home where Jared L. Loughner lived with his family on more than one occasion before the attack here on Saturday that left a congresswoman fighting for her life and six others dead, the Pima County Sheriff's Department said on Tuesday....
The news of police involvement with the Loughners suggests that county sheriff's deputies were at least familiar with the family, even if the reason for their visits was unclear as of Tuesday night.
The loquacious Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik has many theories, unsupported and increasingly unbelievable, to explain the shooting. Now we know at least this, from the Times:
The new details from [friend Zane] Gutierrez about Mr. Loughner -- including his philosophy of anarchy and his expertise with a handgun, suggest that the earliest signs of behavior that may have ultimately led to the attacks started several years ago.
Mr. Gutierrez said his friend had become obsessed with the meaning of dreams and their importance. He talked about reading Friedrich Nietzsche's book "The Will To Power" and embraced ideas about the corrosive, destructive effects of nihilism -- a belief in nothing. And every day, his friend said, Mr. Loughner would get up and write in his dream journal, recording the world he experienced in sleep and its possible meanings.
Here's my theory: A mentally deranged young man was never treated or effectively prevented from buying guns. The sheriff didn't pick up on anything, despite repeated contact with the shooter. Six people then died. Well, that bears some semblance to the facts, and, moreover, explains why the sheriff would rather cast blame elsewhere.
Maybe it's time to cut out the blame game and at least have discussion that is related to the facts -- about treatment of and institutionalization rules for the mentally ill, for example. And yes, we need to look at how mentally unstable people still manage to get access to guns. Meanwhile, the people of Pima County can decide if they are being well served.
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